FAMILY FUN AT THE FARM:
There aren’t too many amateur motocross racers that have had it better than Canyon Richards during the recent coronavirus quarantine. The 12-year-old out of New Jersey has been spending long days on The Farm, a multi-track facility in his home state that is owned and operated by his family and also doubles as their home. They had to make the decision to sell their property or sell their home and they decided to keep the property and build a house on-site, but in the meantime they’re living the RV lifestyle and loving every minute of it. If you look at Richards’ results from the last few seasons, it’s obvious that all of the dedication and sacrifice is paying off as the Rock River Yamaha backed rider has put himself on the top step of the podium at pretty much every race you could imagine. He has established himself as a front runner in the 65cc classes over the last few seasons and is determined to hunt down the second Loretta Lynn’s title of his young career later this year. We sat down for a chat with Canyon and his dad, Guy, to dive deeper into the decision to sell their house and invest in their property, waking up at 6:30 am to chop down trees, and some of the fun stuff they do on The Farm.
What have you been doing lately during the quarantine to keep yourself busy and entertained?
Canyon: I've just been riding our turn tracks, and supercross and outdoor, and just riding pit bikes and playin' in the woods.
Your training compound up there in New Jersey has been in the works for a while. Are things finalized now or are you still finishing up?
Canyon: Our tracks are almost done, but we're putting in a pond that's going to be filled up soon and we're putting in big sprinklers.
Do you live at your compound up there or do you have a house closeby?
Canyon: We used to have our house but we had to sell it because we couldn't afford the mortgage, so we sold that and we're living in a camper on The Farm.
Guy: One thing from a parent's perspective, we had this super nice house and we just finished it. It was like my dream home and I had to pick one. I had to either keep the home and sell the property or sell the property and keep the home. We decided that we'd rather build a home on this, so we're in the middle of building a home now out there but we're in the RV in the meantime.
Do you like not having to make that commute and waking up there in your camper ready to go ride?
Canyon: Yeah, I love it.
Guy: Everyone camps out on the weekend, so we had three campers out there this weekend plus us, so four. Canyon sneaks out to the firepit and sneaks out to people's campers at about 6 am and starts knocking on their doors, "Do you guys wanna ride pit bikes?" So he gets in trouble...
Canyon: Usually, at like 6:30 I go outside and if no one's at the firepit I start cutting down trees with a hatchet. That's what I do until everyone wakes up. I knock on their doors and I usually get in trouble, so then I start cutting down trees by their campers so they hear it and come outside.
We've seen you guys doing a lot of creative and fun things on social media. It looks like you had a pit bike race recently with your buddy and your sister with some gold jewelry up for grabs.
Canyon: Yeah, I shifted up twice on the pit bike and I thought I was taking off in second gear and it went into a false neutral, so I started dead last on the start. Then I made my way up to 2nd on the first lap and there was this puddle that you could either go on the inside or outside; everyone went around it and I went on the inside and there was a log, so my front tire hit it and it made me spin out. Then I tried t-boning them in the last corner and I knifed the front end.
Guy: He went down twice. But I'll tell you the story of how we got the gold (jewelry). We were driving down to a WaWa and I was gettin' gas and this guy came up to me and asked for some money for some gas. He showed me his gas gauge and he was on E and there was a lady in the car with him, so I threw a hundred dollar bill in the car and said "It's just from Jesus," and then I walked away. He came chasin' me down in the WaWa and asked if he could get a thousand dollars and that he'd give the money back. I'm livin' in an RV myself, I don't even have a house. I gave him another three hundred bucks and he was like "I'm going to pay you back in two days," so I'm like "Whatever." I felt bad for the lady, she looked like she was old. So he was like "Take my Rolex and take my 18 karat gold chain and take all this," and I'm like "Dude, I don't need all this stuff." But he said he'd give it to me and he'd be back in two or three days. So three days go by and I'm thinkin' the guy gave me fake jewelry and so I went to the pawnshop and they laughed at me. The guy got over on me, so I was like we're gonna have a pit bike race and I made Nick wear that Rolex all week until his wrist turned green. I'll tell you what, the kids were laughin', I jumped in the skiddy and we did practice and qualifying and everything.
Canyon: 1st place got a necklace that wasn't spray-painted too good and a Rolex. 2nd place got a bracelet and my bracelet was spray-painted more than his necklace. Brighton got 3rd and she got a ring. So we made Nick wear his necklace and fake Rolex and I wore my bracelet all weekend. He'd be walkin' around with a green neck the whole entire weekend, it looked like we spray-painted his neck green.
You do a lot of free-riding at your place, whether it be on pit bikes, hitting ramps, or riding in the woods. Talk a little bit about that.
Canyon: Yeah, we usually ride for like an hour or two and then just go hill climbing on the race bikes and stuff. Then we jump on the pit bikes and send the pit bike ramp.
Those LS2 Bomber Helmets you won at Ponca have come in handy for all that pit bike riding, eh?
Canyon: Yeah, I like 'em even though I'm not allowed to jump jumps with it anymore.
Did something happen?
Canyon: My mom and dad have me wear a full-face helmet. I was jumping jumps with the Bomber helmet and sneakers, so we're trying to get those Alpinestar sneakers.
Guy: We catch him in that open face every day almost!
Canyon: I hit a tree 40mph in the woods before and it held up pretty good. Dude, I bent the bars sideways. We have a gas line going down our property and we have a trail around the whole property, so where it goes over the gas line there's a big hole and the other side of the gas line has a big hill. I tried doubling across it but there's no lip where I started jumping and I tried jumpin', the back end kicked me, and I hit a stump wide open and then I hit a tree with my handlebars.
Guy: 'Cause his dad was beatin' him and he don't like losin'. (laughs)
Canyon: We usually have all of my cousins and aunts and uncles over and we stick some on quads and some on pit bikes and then we'll do slowest to fastest. My dad got around the quads a little faster and I was tryin' to catch up to him. I was right behind him and I was about to hit this transfer line where I woulda passed him, but I hit a tree and a stump right before it.
What's it like for you to have the opportunity for a legendary rider like Jason Lawrence to come out to your property and ride all the time?
Canyon: I like it. He teaches me a lot of cool tricks and he's always creative -- there's this one pit where the track is really wide and then it goes real skinny and we usually do a few little singletrack kind of things in there, and we have a dragon's back that we hit. He like hits the hill climb, jumps down it, goes across the pit then turns really tight, goes back up the hill and jumps back on the track. He makes a lot of cool lines.
Talk about the hillbilly sled setup you guys were running with the four-wheeler recently. That looked pretty fun!
Canyon: Yeah, that was super fun. Our friend had a deer sled and I was like "Let's just hook it up to the back of your quad and bring it out here." He didn't really know how to ride the track too good so he'd be going down the tabletops -- the lips are super steep and he'd go over it slow and he'll gas it goin' down it while I'm still on the top of it. He just punches the gas goin' down the backside of it and I'd go flyin' like fifty feet and flat land it, it's so fun!
The track had to feel quite a bit rougher on that sled compared to your bike, right?
Canyon: Yeah, one downhill that we have that gets a lot of braking bumps, we were going up it and it felt like I was hitting supercross whoops on that thing with a bike that has no suspension, but it was fun! There's this one spot where we cut onto the track and the line was kind of long on the sled, we drifted it and there's this one jump where we split it and you'd either go right or left, but there's a big rain rut in the center of it. We were going down backward since we just cut onto the track, so I'm on the side of the quad since I swung all the way to the one side and he goes down where it flats and I ended up goin' right in the rain rut, and I started flipping all the way down the hill.
Guy: He flipped all the way down the hill, it's like seventy feet! We had to go to a drive-through birthday party and he came back with his underwear covered in orange mud, his face, his arms, his legs. I had to put him in my truck 'cause they call my truck 'The Rolling Dumpster’. Canyon wasn't allowed in anyone else's car.
You had some strong finishes at the beginning of the season before racing came to an abrupt end. You left Daytona with a 2nd overall in the 65cc (7-11) class, how'd things go for you there?
Canyon: Yeah, I thought the track was pretty good but it was super tight with a lot of quick turns, so it got one-lined and it was really hard to pass.
Every class that you raced at Spring A Ding Ding, you ended up on the podium and you took the overall win in the 65cc (10-11) class. How was the weekend in Texas for you?
Canyon: Yeah, it was pretty good. We had a gearing that we couldn't get too good of a start with and then we changed it and were able to get a start and run away with it.
Guy: That was the last moto, Ed Torrance changed the gearing. He would get a start and be three-quarters of the way down and get swallowed, so he'd be fighting from the back and come off the track super mad. So Ed made a gearing change for the last moto and it was the first holeshot he pulled at any race this year. Once he pulled that gearing change on us, we felt like we figured out what we can run against these other kids. Those KTMs open up at the top and he was falling flat right before the top and once we made that change it helped.
It looks like you've been doing most of your training back at home on the YZ85. Have you been enjoying that?
Canyon: Yeah, I like it. We got invited to ride these pits that are like 8,000 acres and it's just straight sand. I was riding my bike on the one sand track and I popped the chain or somethin' and my throttle was getting stuck, so I wanted to ride my sister's bike. I thought it was an 85 but now that I realize it, it was a supermini. I want to get a supermini now, they're so fun on the sand tracks, so I'm tryin' to get one now. The thing just glides on top of the sand.
Guy: Yeah, we're gonna get back on the 65 before Loretta's and all that but he hasn't been on the 65 since Spring A Ding Ding. I wanted to keep his Regional bikes fresh and his race bikes sit on the semi-truck, so we won't see those until Loretta's.
The track at Underground isn't too far off from what you have at The Farm up in New Jersey. Did you like racing there?
Canyon: Yeah, I had some fun at that track. I love big jumps that have super tall faces.
What do you think about the Super Regional format that MX Sports currently has in place for Loretta's?
Canyon: I think it'll get really rough since there are going to be a lot of people there, so I think the track is gonna turn out pretty good.
Do you know yet what your plans are for Loretta's this year and the end of the season moving into 2021?
Guy: I think (10-11) Stock and (10-11) Mod on the 65 is the goal. It depends on what happens at Loretta's and how he looks on the 65, but it'd be nice to finish the year out on an 85 at Mini Os.